California Votes To Save Its Last Nuclear Plant To Fight Energy Shortages

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Jack McEvoy Energy & Environment Reporter
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California’s legislature voted overnight to keep the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, the state’s last nuclear power plant, open for another five years beyond its previously scheduled shutdown.

More than two-thirds of California’s assembly and Senate passed Senate Bill 846 early Thursday morning to extend the plant’s operation until 2030, according to state legislature voting records. Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom originally proposed keeping the plant open as delays in green energy production and heat waves could push power demand beyond available electricity supplies, causing blackouts and energy shortages, according to an Aug. 12 webinar hosted by the California Energy Commission. (RELATED: Most Populous State Looks To Keep Last Nuclear Plant Alive To Stave Off Blackouts)

California government officials explained that green energy developments aimed at replacing the nuclear plant’s output are slowing due to supply chain issues during the webinar.

“We are behind where we need to be in bringing our clean resources online, to ensure that we can retire the Diablo Canyon plant,” said California Department of Finance director Ana Matosantos. “This is something that we think is necessary to maintain reliability, necessary to make our transition.”

Aerial view of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant which sits on the edge of the Pacific Ocean at Avila Beach in San Luis Obispo County, California on March 17, 2011. MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images.

Newsom’s plan will also give Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), the state’s largest power company, a $1.4 billion forgivable loan to continue running the nuclear plant.

California is accelerating its plans to transition to a green energy economy and meet its targets to produce 100% of its energy from ‘clean’ sources by 2045, according to the California Energy Commission. However, the state does not currently have enough lithium-ion battery storage to completely supply its grid with wind and solar power, according to the LA Times.

The state is currently facing severe energy shortages and residents are being urged to curb energy consumption to prevent power outages, according to an announcement made by a major California state-run grid operator.

“We remain focused on continuing to provide reliable, low-cost, carbon-free energy to the people of California, while safely operating one of the top-performing plants in the country,” said PG&E in a statement provided to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Newsom’s office did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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